There are a lot of myths and misconceptions when it comes to the vulva and vagina. Some people believe that vaginas can lose their elasticity and become loose forever. That’s not actually true, though.
First things first: There’s no such thing as a “loose” vagina. Your vagina may change over time due to age and childbirth, but it won’t lose its stretch permanently.
Your vaginal canal is elastic. This means it can stretch to accommodate things coming in (like a tampon or sex toy) or going out (like delivering a baby). But it won’t take long for your vagina to return to its previous shape.
The myth of a “loose” vagina has historically been used as a way to shame people for their sex lives.
But the truth is that it doesn’t matter who you have sex with, how you have sex, or how often. It won’t affect the shape, size, strength, or appearance of your vagina.
It’s important to know that a “tight” vagina may be a sign of an underlying condition, especially if you’re experiencing discomfort during penetrative sex.
Then, tight vaginal muscles could make a sexual encounter painful or impossible. Extreme vaginal tightness could also be a sign of vaginismus.
If this sounds familiar, consult with a gynecologist or other healthcare professional. They can assess your symptoms and help determine the underlying cause.
A loss of estrogen means your vaginal tissue will
- less acidic
- less stretchy or flexible
These changes may become more noticeable once you reach menopause. That said, any looseness or weakness is slight. You won’t wake up one day with an extremely different elasticity.
It’s natural for your body to change after childbirth. With vaginal delivery, your vaginal muscles must stretch to create an opening large enough for the baby to pass through the birth canal and out of your vagina’s entrance.
You may notice that your vagina feels slightly looser than its pre-birth form. That’s to be expected. Your vagina should start to snap back a few days after giving birth, although it may not completely return to its original shape.
If you’ve had multiple vaginal births, your vaginal muscles are more likely to lose a little elasticity. If you’re uncomfortable with this, there are exercises to strengthen your vaginal floor muscles before, during, and after pregnancy.
Pelvic exercises are a great way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles are part of your core and
- small intestine
When your pelvic floor muscles weaken from age or childbirth, you
- accidentally leak urine or pass wind
- feel the constant need to pee
- have pain in your pelvic area
- experience pain during penetrative sex
Although pelvic floor exercises can help treat mild urinary incontinence, they aren’t as beneficial for people who experience severe urinary leakage.
A healthcare professional can help you develop an appropriate treatment plan that suits your needs.
First, you need to identify your pelvic floor muscles. To do so, stop midstream while you’re peeing. If you succeed, you found the right muscles.
Once you do, follow these steps:
- Pick a position for your exercises. Most people prefer lying on their back for Kegels.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles. Hold the contraction for 5 seconds, relaxing for another 5 seconds.
- Repeat this step at least 5 times in a row.
As you build strength, increase to 10 seconds. Try not to tighten your thighs, abs, or butt during Kegels. Just focus on your pelvic floor.
Pelvic tilt exercises
To strengthen your vaginal muscles using a pelvic tilt exercise:
- Stand with your shoulders and butt against a wall. Keep knees soft.
- Pull your belly button in toward your spine. When you do this, your back should flatten against the wall.
- Tighten your belly button for 4 seconds, then release.
- Repeat several times a day.
You can also strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by using a vaginal cone. This is a weighted, tampon-sized object that you put in your vagina and hold.
To do this:
- Insert the lightest cone into your vagina.
- Squeeze your muscles. Hold it in place for about 5 minutes twice a day.
- Increase the weight of the cone you use as you become more successful in holding the cone in place in your vagina.
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)
NMES can help strengthen your vaginal muscles by sending an electric current through your pelvic floor using a probe. The electrical stimulation will cause your pelvic floor muscles to contract and relax.
You can use a home NMES unit or have a healthcare professional perform the treatment.
Remember: A “loose” vagina is a myth. Vaginal delivery can temporarily cause your vagina to lose some of its elasticity, but your muscles won’t stretch out permanently. In time, your vagina will likely return to its pre-birth form.
If you’re concerned about changes to your vagina, reach out to a healthcare professional to discuss what’s bothering you. They can help ease your concerns and advise you on next steps.